CMU partners with Adobe to power digital learning

University community gains free access to Creative Cloud software

Central Michigan University students, faculty and staff now have free access to a set of powerful digital tools as CMU becomes an Adobe Creative Campus one of only two in the state.

Software company Adobe is providing its popular Creative Cloud suite of programs — Photoshop, Acrobat, Illustrator and many more — to select colleges and universities through its new Creative Campus program.

CMU's participation is supported through an award from the President's and Provost's Fund for Program Innovation and Excellence, a program launched in October 2019 to innovate student-focused programs and ramp up strategic transformation.

Mary C. Schutten, CMU's provost and executive vice president, said the Creative Cloud programs, backed by online support and training through Adobe, will enhance digital learning at CMU.

"We understand the importance of our students being digitally literate, and this partnership will differentiate CMU as a transformational place," Schutten said. "It's vital for students to move beyond their university experience with creative and communication skills that help them succeed in the university and in their careers."

Every current CMU student now is authorized to access the cloud-based programs, and faculty and staff may request access through the CMU Help Desk. The program allows use of the software on up to two devices on and off campus.

"To be able to have access to the tools that enhance communications skills for life wherever you are is a game-changer," Schutten said.

Connect to creativity

Here's how and where you can connect to Adobe Creative Cloud programs for free:

  • Students: Click "sign in" at Use your global ID email address for your user ID to access the sign-in page. You will then be able to install programs on your local machine.
  • Faculty and staff: A form is available through the CMU Help Desk website to request access.
  • Park Library: The programs also are available on many library computers for anyone without a computer capable of installing them.

Attend Adobe Max

  • CMU students, faculty and staff who have obtained their Adobe ID can sign up to attend the virtual  Adobe MAX Creativity Conference for free. The three-day event, Oct. 20-22, features more than 350 educational sessions and speakers including photographer Annie Leibovitz; recording artist Tyler, the Creator; and comedian and actress Awkwafina.

Creative Cloud programs enable users to create and edit documents, publications, motion graphics, videos, audio recordings, websites and more.

Janet Hethorn, dean emeritus of the College of the Arts and Media, is leading a cross-campus committee to implement and promote Creative Campus. She said future plans call for an Adobe Digital Lounge in Park Library where students can work together on projects using the software.

While the programs often are used by designers and creatives, Hethorn said they are useful creative tools in any discipline.

"What we'd really like to happen is for the Creative Cloud to be used in non-art fields and non-obvious ways," she said.

Eric Limarenko, a faculty member in the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts, said possibilities are wide open.

"The software success of Adobe — with direct links to PIXAR, Industrial Light & Magic, Philips Healthcare and countless other industry leaders — proves it is instrumental as a tool for all fields," he said. "Finding your way to create whatever it is you are tasked with or are dreaming of can be very liberating as an educator."

Art and Design faculty member Clark Most said access to Adobe software on their own laptops and devices will liberate students from the schedules of computer labs.

"I think the Creative Campus program is one of the best services provided for our students in my 20 years of teaching at CMU," he said.

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